LHWs Dan Henderson will face off at UFC 173 vs. Daniel Cormier, who will both be subjected to enhanced random drug testing in the weeks prior to the fight.
Recent developments concerning drug testing for MMA competitors have brought random blood testing to the forefront. In a recent press conference, UFC President Dana White explained that this important practice comes with a high price. Enhanced testing for Jon Jones and Glover Teixeira for UFC 172 cost his company something to the tune of $45,000.
A quick round of math reveals that testing every fighter on every UFC card will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Until the price can be driven down by private sector labs competing for business, MMA officials will be at the mercy of the USADA and whatever price tag they hang on the task.
In the meantime, there are several methods, however crude, that fight organizers can utilize to determine whether or not their juggernauts are juicing. Steroids used by MMA fighters such as Stanozolol and Nandrolone carry a host of behavioral side effects ranging from paranoia and anxiety to unprovoked violence, jealousy and delusions.
If Henderson is shown a photoshopped image of his significant other walking down the street hand in hand with Cormier, his response can reveal if he is doping. If he laughs at the shoddy cropping work and the sheer ridiculousness of the idea, you can bet he is clean. If he erupts into a screaming fit of hysterical flailing, irrational ranting and thorough destruction of all present furniture — chances are good he might me jacked up.
Conversely, Cormier can be shown some grainy footage of a man running from a burning car that is halfway up a telephone pole. Drug use detection analysts would then explain that the man is Henderson, and the car is Cormier’s brand new Hummer. His telling response will be closely scrutinized.
If he calmly pulls out his cell phone, calls up Henderson and jovially congratulates him on an impressive feat of stunt-driving, the odds are good that he is not on steroids. If Cormier puts his fist through the monitor screen, backhands an attendant with the other fist and runs directly through the wall and down the street screaming “Hendo!! I am going to kill you!!!” the evidence is pretty clear that a chemical imbalance is afoot.
Henderson and Cormier will no doubt get wise to the trickery behind these tests and learn how to beat them by remembering to count to 10, so variations will need to be developed. Drug use detection panels can put Henderson in a locked room with a whining, yapping, incontinent mutt and see how long it takes him to elicit signs of wanting to kick the poor thing.
Meanwhile, Cormier can be told that Alexander Gustafsson has retired, his bout with Henderson has been cancelled and that he will face Jon Jones in less than a month. Red flags will go up if he shows any signs whatsoever of believing this outrageous fib.
Affordable enhanced drug testing for MMA athletes should be available by reputable private sector sources. This is by no means a far-fetched delusion of futuristic impossibility, rather it is an immediate possibility being hampered by money-driven bureaucracies. Until USADA comes to their senses, affordable drug use detection will be stuck in the dark ages.